Public Health (Measles Outbreak)
CP No. 2501 of 2014 [Zulfiqar Ali Langah Versus Province of Sindh and Others]
The aforementioned Petition was a Suo Moto action taken by the Honourable High Court of Sindh upon a letter sent to the Honourable Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court posted by Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Langah, Advocate. The letter highlighted the widespread of a curable disease namely, “Rubella Virus” (i.e. measles) in Sindh and how it was causing deaths in the province due to the failure of the Sindh Government in taking necessary preventive measures. On 20th April 2015, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (‘PILER’) filed an Intervenor application to become a party to the proceedings to seek enforcement of fundamental rights, for the victims and survivors and their families, and also to seek further directions from the Honourable Court in order to deal with the aforementioned ongoing tragedy in Thatta, Sajawal and other districts of Sindh leading to deaths of children. The Honourable Court vide Order dated 22.5.2014, was pleased to dispose of the Petition with the following directions:
- An effective wide-spread awareness campaign be launched by the Government of Sindh regarding the adverse effect of measles and other related diseases, causes of such diseases and preventive measures. This campaign should be designed in a manner so that it covers each and every person throughout the province of Sindh and would be conducted in a language that would be understandable to people of each region.
- Lady health workers and vaccinators should take part in vaccination throughout the province.
- Every health unit in Sindh should have adequate facilities for immunization and people should be made aware of these facilities.
- Hurdles like corruption, irresponsible attitude and inefficiency should be eradicated and removed by taking strict and effective measures.
- Media should play a role to give wide-spread coverage to the awareness campaign irrespective of whether they are paid for it or not.
- Schools, both government and private, may also include this immunization programme.
On 23.09.2014 PILER filed a contempt application requesting Honourable Court to punish Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh and Secretary, Ministry of Heath, Government of Sindh, for consciously undermining the Order dated 22.05.2014, as the most of the awareness campaign was limited to the publication of certain advertisements in the newspapers “DAWN” and “JANG”, which are hardly read by the people in interior province, as most of them are not able to read English or Urdu language.
Consequently, on 5.12.2014, the Court directed the Government of Sindh to prepare an effective awareness campaign so, that the people in different nock and corners of the Province are made aware of the causes and effect of and the ways and means of prevention of the above-mentioned disease, quickly. The court also directed that a committee should be constituted to prevent theft and pilferage, up to the Union Council level with certain punitive power as may be permissible under the law. The court also ordered the Government of Sindh to submit the Report of compliance in four weeks.
The contempt application is pending adjudication.
The following documents are available for viewing online:
1.Letter sent to the Honourable Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court posted by Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Langah
2. High Court Order dated 22.05.2014
3.Memo of Contempt Application
4. High Court Order dated 5.12.2014